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old shutters

image: Elizabeth Thomsen

An old window shutter can be used in place of any surface in your upcycling projects.  Here are a few ideas using shutters to inspire you.

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Years ago at my mother’s house, I found four shutters about 3’ tall hinged together. She wasn’t using this anymore, so I brought it home, cleaned it up, and painted it. I used it as a privacy screen at night in front of my floor-to-ceiling windows.

I could have taken them apart, built a box frame of 1”x 1”s, attached one to each side, and topped with glass to make an end table. For storage, shelves could be built inside the frame, and one shutter hinged as a door. Add a whimsical or antique knob.

Horizontally this ‘box’ could be used as a coffee table with a piece of glass on top. Storage could also be incorporated with one hinged side. Make it portable with casters.

Shabby Chic Bedroom by Los Angeles Photographers Amy Bartlam Photography

Three shutters

Good design comes in odd numbers, so three of my shutters could have been used as wall art behind a sofa.

Three wide shutters are connected and fashioned into a headboard. Three shutters combined with wood panels make a 7-panel, dual color headboard.

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Two shutters

Dress up an entryway with a window and shutters on the wall. Find an old single pane wood window, paint it, distress it for an antique feel, and hang it on the wall. A shutter placed on each side brings the outdoors in. You could take that theme further by adding a window box with houseplants in it.

Make a rolling kitchen island with a butcher block top.

Two shutters make a bench or the back of a chair.

Eclectic Porch by Birmingham Photographers Jean Allsopp Photography

A single shutter

I was at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore last week, and I saw one window shutter about 6’ tall. My mind went right to work on how I could use it. Sadly I didn’t have room in the car for it, but my creative juices were flowing when I got home.

I immediately thought one long shutter would make a great table in the greenhouse or potting shed. Soil and water would fall right through, making clean up easy.

Paint a shutter a cheery color, and hang it in the kitchen to organize utensils.

Make an organizer to place by the back door for mail, notes, and photos. Hooks on the bottom hold keys.

Shabby Chic Bedroom by Other Metro Media & Bloggers Dreamy Whites

Turn it horizontally, and add large hooks or knobs to hang coats. This one has old metal faucet handles as hooks! Top it with a shelf for extra storage.

Remove every other louvre, and hang magazines on the remainder. Put it on the wall to save floor space and add visual interest. Try it in the bathroom!

Outdoors

Exterior shutters were made to withstand the elements, so don’t be afraid to put them outside. Attach several together to make a privacy fence. Paint it a whimsical color, or blend it with your landscape.

Enclose an outdoor shower with shutters.

Plant a vertical garden of shallow rooted succulents. I love this idea!

Group them together with an old door for a funky, faux entrance.

Eclectic Landscape by San Francisco Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Lila B. Design

Get creative

Anywhere you need a surface, you can upcycle a shutter. Think of them for the sides, bottoms, tops and fronts of armoires, sideboards, tables, shelves, and walls. Check the ReStore, consignment shops, salvage yards, demolition sites, and moving sales, then let your imagination rip!

Always refinish furniture with non-toxic strippers, paints, stains and sealers for your health and that of the planet.

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Nan Fischer

Nan Fischer has been living and building green for over 35 years. Nan’s emphasis on the BuildDirect blog is about how to make your dollar stretch further, while also moving toward a more sustainable lifestyle, as well as upcoming and existing technology to help us live in an ecologically-friendly way. Nan also authors posts on the website of her seed business, sweetly seeds.